Certain little moments of joy stay with me for my lifetime.
Jerry Dahl was a grade school buddy who lived about 10 blocks from Saint Cecilia School. I’d walk him home and go up to his room, which was in the attic. As with many Catholic families of the ‘50s, Jerry had a bunch of siblings. One of them was Judy, who was a few years older and the romantic target of my brother Eddie.
One afternoon, Jerry swiped a 45 record from his sister’s room of my brother breathlessly singing the Elvis Presley hit “Love Me Tender” and dedicating it to his undying affection for Judy. I had discovered a gold mine.
That evening at dinner, I mixed Eddie’s remake of “Love Me Tender” with other 45 records that would automatically flop down on our RCA record player. As the baked beans were being passed, Eddie’s whispered words filled the kitchen: “This is for you, Judy.” What followed was my brother’s humble efforts to sing one of Elvis’s greatest hits.
Speaking of hits, I was pummeled that evening when Eddie caught up with me in the backyard. No matter the temporary pain, this caper remains one of my most joyous moments.